Find New Friends at 30: Like Dating, Only More Awkward

She glanced at me with a (possibly fake, get-out-of-my-car) smile in the dim light as I got out of her car and said goodbye. “Maybe call me some time if you see something you want to do and want someone to do it with,” I said, realizing how sad and pathetic that made me sound as I slammed the door shut and she sped away. The next day I stared at my phone and thought about the conversations we had about our families and lives. Was she waiting for me to text? Does she think I don’t like her? … do I?

This is not notes from a first date. Well, that’s to say, not a romantic date. I met her on a new friend making app that is similar to Tinder except for women only. The app sucks because I’ve ended up “swiping right” on just about everyone in order to get any sort of response. She responded and lives in the same town, so we discussed meeting up. We finally did. Dinner was tasty and the conversation was enjoyable – though at this point in my life it gets a bit tiring to tell someone my life story from the start (and to decide which parts to leave in and which to leave out.) I’m sure she felt the same, detailing her relationship with her mother and father and siblings.

I never did text her after our first dinner, and she never wrote to me. I may run into her one day on the street since she lives 10 or so minutes away, but I’m not sure either of us would even recognize the other. It’s not that we didn’t get along – I think we both are just so busy as adults we want to really click with the people we spend time with. It’s a huge investment to be friends with someone, and it’s not worth it if you don’t, well, like them more than a general acquaintance. (Yes, this sounds awful, but research points out more than half of your friends don’t really like you anyway.)

Friendship as a “No Kids” Adult: How to Make and Maintain Friends?

My few “good” friendships in life have centered around connecting with other people who are both intelligent and had some kind of challenging childhood leaving them with existential angst. I don’t do well with people who are entirely normal… I prefer my friends to have high IQs and dark, twisted senses of humor. And, when it comes to female friends, I need them to at least accept that I’m bisexual and that I’m married and that I’m monogamous. It’s not a big deal, it’s just one of those things that I have to get out of the way as I don’t like to hide anything from friends. I spend enough energy during the day at work trying to pretend to be someone else, I don’t want to have to pretend in my few waking free hours outside of that.)

I also tend to like to be friends with people who have some sort of internal conflict. Maybe it’s just my natural INFP therapist self, but a lot of my past and current friendships are based around mutual psychoanalysis. My ideal friend would want to talk about personality disorders, philosophy, and finance, with the occasional intersection of a standard outing.

The Cost of Making – and Keeping – New Friends

It is also challenging to make friends with people who are in different socioeconomic levels than you are. While I’m perfectly happy going out for a (free) hike or attending a cheap show or dining at a fast food restaurant, overall I’m looking for people who I can enjoy life with. My husband isn’t super social, so I look to friends to try new things with. I also don’t want to spend a fortune just to keep up with friends who overspend or have a trust fund — it would be nice to make a friend with a similar mindset that spending on experiences is ok within reason but we can be happy spending $0 on a “friend date” as well.

Just like dating – friend dating is not cheap. I’m going on another friend date next week (this time with someone I met on OkCupid which does apparently have a “friends only” option.) We’re going whiskey tasting or something. I’ve decided to try out OkCupid because at least then I can find intellectual queer women who are open to friendship. Maybe that will work out.

Do Adults Have Time for Friends?

Of my friends locally, one just moved away to attend a 2-year MBA program, one has a 3 year old and is pregnant with her second child, plus has incredibly busy weekends working in the wedding industry, and one couple with a two-year-old sees us every Sunday night to watch television as we’re one of their only friends without children who can still just go hang out. The remaining people I know live in the city – which is over an hour from my home and where I work, so I can meet up for dinner after work and get home incredibly late, or visit on the weekends which require driving an hour to the place I have to go 5 days a week (something I’ll do on occasion, but I prefer not to drive so far on the weekends.)

It would be rather useful to make friends with someone(s) at work, but that quest has been fruitless. I did have lunch with a colleague this week – a woman who recently started who I believe is somewhere around my age if not a few years older. She was nice enough, but also I couldn’t see developing a friendship with her – more of a high-quality working relationship as peers who can team together for success, versus someone I’d call up to hang out with on the weekends.

I wonder if I worked in another industry or maybe at a bigger company if I’d have made more friends in my career – but the I remember I would still be myself so that would be unlikely.

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2 thoughts on “Find New Friends at 30: Like Dating, Only More Awkward”

  1. I hear ya about how hard it is to make friends as an adult. My partner and I made a couple friendship that was going really well for awhile, but we both liked the wife way more than the husband. We’d have family dinner together most Sunday (trading houses) but one day the husband said he didn’t want to do it every weekend anymore (to which I said “That’s fine! He can just stay home!” to the wife) and we haven’t had a dinner since. She and I still talk and try to get together but it’s not the same.

    You are braver than I am putting yourself out there and meeting new people. I think that’s what you have to do and eventually you’ll meet someone you click with.

  2. You’re not kidding. Making friends as an adult is impossible. I have a very hard time making friends in general, so my wife has done most of it. And a bunch of our friend couples have moved, which put us back where we started. I made fast friends on my own with a couple at my friend’s wedding week in Macedonia, but of course they live in another country. It’s fun to have friends to visit in other places, but I wish more of them would stick around!
    Norm recently posted..Vacation Rewind: The Cost of My Trip to Macedonia and Vienna

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